The Thompson Invitational kicks off September 22-23 at Oro Valley Country Club with tee times beginning at 11:15 a.m. both days. Notable Tucson-area junior golfers set to compete are all on the girls’ side this year. Maya Benita, 16, enters the field with positive momentum after a recent breakthrough win at the Chandler City Junior Championship in early September to go along with a busy 2018 JGAA tournament schedule that included 10 top-10 finishes in 18 tournaments entered in the Girls Championship division.
In April, Mackenzie McRee, 14, competed in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship held before the 2018 Masters at Augusta National. A couple weeks later, she defended home turf in the 13-14 age division with a win at the Tucson Spring Classic as well as a second-place finish at the Tucson City Jr. Championship in May.
Fraternal twins Raina and Hannah Ports, 14, of Oro Valley, finished one-two respectively in the PING Arizona Junior Masters’ 13-14 division in July. Back in May, Raina posted her first of two wins for the season in the 13-14 division at the Tucson City Jr. Championship, while Hannah notched six top-10 finishes in 10 events played this season.
Tucson native Michael Thompson grew up playing in the Ricki Rarick Junior Golf program, Southwest Section PGA events and JGAA tournaments from 2000-2003. He was a member of the 2001 Eddie Hogan Cup team representing Arizona, where he finished third individually. Thompson played collegiate golf at the University of Tulane before transferring to the University of Alabama. In 2008, Thompson was named the SEC Player of the Year and shortly after turned professional. In 2013, he won his first PGA TOUR event at the Honda Classic and finished 39th overall in the FedExCup standings that year. In 2018, Thompson finished in the top 25 five times after making 12 of 19 cuts.